Types of Aid Available
For those who qualify, there are several types of financial assistance available to help fund college expenses.
Grants are forms of financial assistance that do not have to be repaid. They are provided for students from limited-income families.
Federal Pell Grants are available from the federal government and are based upon calculated financial need.
Available to Illinois residents who will attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need based on the information provided on the FAFSA.
Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions (EFCs) will be considered first for a FSEOG. Just like Pell Grants, the FSEOG does not have to be repaid.
Withdrawals and Attendance: Title IV funds are awarded under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, he/she may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds.
Loans are federally or privately funded sources of assistance that must be repaid with interest. Student loans can be a useful tool in funding your education, but use them wisely. You should be aware of the responsibility of borrowing money to finance your education. Per the Federal Default Management Guidelines, students requesting to borrow student loans must have a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file and make an appointment for a loan Entrance Interview with the loan advisor in the Financial Aid Office.
Any refusal to originate a Direct Loan or reduction in the amount of an individual borrower's eligibility for a Direct Loan will be made on a case-by-case basis. The decision to limit Direct Loan availability will be provided to the student or parent borrower in writing and that documentation supporting the determination will be retained in the student's file at the school.
Students who have earned a bachelor's degree or professional degree are not eligible for grants.
Federal Stafford Loan Programs
These loans are low-interest loans to help you pay for your college education. There are two kinds of federal Stafford loans, Subsidized and Unsubsidized.
The subsidized loan is based on need, and the government pays the interest while the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
The unsubsidized loan is a non-need-based loan for educational expenses. The student is responsible for the interest upon disbursement.
Federal PLUS Loan Program
The Federal PLUS Loan is a non-need-based federal program. Parents of a dependent student may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid to help finance their student’s undergraduate education. The loan interest rate is fixed at 8.5 percent.
The Federal Work Study program provides on-campus and nonprofit off-campus employment for students while they attend college. The number of hours worked weekly is determined by the amount of work-study dollars awarded and financial need.
Students who receive Federal Work Study funds must:
- Demonstrate need to be eligible for work-study funds.
- Be paid at least federal minimum wage.
- Perform work-study employment from 5-20 hours per week.
Scholarships are available both through the Prairie State College Foundation as well as several outside sources. Scholarships are a form of financial assistance that does not need to be repaid.
PSC Foundation Scholarships
The PSC Foundation awards more than $75,000 in scholarships annually to students who are not fully funded through any other source.
- Step 1: Register for classes.
- Foundation awards are not "first money" to hold a class. Foundation scholarships are for partial costs, pending available funds.
- Step 2: File a FAFSA
- The Foundation assists those who are not eligible for federal or state aid, but every applicant must have filed FAFSA.
- Step 3: Sign up and complete the PSC Foundation scholarship application online.
Visit the following Web sites to search for other scholarship opportunities.
- The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program (PSC internal deadline Dec. 15 for application and faculty nominations)
- COWL Scholarship Program (Deadline: Mar.31)
- Federal Student Aid
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund (Washington, D.C.)
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund Online (San Francisco, CA)
- HotelsCheap Scholarship Program
- Illinois Counties Association Scholarship (Deadline: Apr. 30)
- Illinois Education Foundation (IEF) Signature Scholarship (Deadline: Apr.15)
- Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Scholarship (Deadline: Apr.30)
- Minority Recruit
- One Million Degrees Scholarship Applications (Deadline: Apr.10)
- School Soup Financial Assistance
- Smart Student Guide
- Stay Fit in College
- United Negro College Fund
Board of Trustees Scholarships
Veterans may be eligible for certain education benefits administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.